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Aukai Kea strikes out 15 to lead Hawaii to Little League World Series championship game

Aukai Kea strikes out 15 to lead Hawaii to Little League World Series championship game
Hawaii pitcher Aukai Kea celebrates after recording the final out during a 3-0 win over Georgia in the U.S. Championship game of the Little League World Series on Saturday. (Rob Carr / Getty Images)

Aukai Kea struck out 15 while throwing a complete game as Hawaii went ahead on a pinch-hit single by John De la Cruz and defeated Georgia 3-0 on Saturday to advance to the Little League World Series championship.

De la Cruz's hit broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Hawaii added the game's final two runs in the fifth, on an RBI triple from Bruce Boucher, followed by Jace Souza's run-scoring single.

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Eight days after striking out 10 Georgia batters in 6 1/3 shutout innings, Kea struck out the side in three of the first four innings Saturday, and a batter in all six.

Hawaii, the U.S. champion, will play South Korea on Sunday after the Asia-Pacific regional champs defeated Japan 2-1 earlier in the day. Over two games at the double-elimination tournament, Georgia played 17 innings against Hawaii but was held scoreless. Much of that was due to Kea, who also hit a walk-off, two-run homer to end the teams' 11-inning game last week.

Choi Ji-hyung blasted his third home run of the Little League World Series, then struck out seven over 4 2/3 innings Saturday, giving South Korea a spot in the tournament championship with a 2-1 win over Japan.

With two outs and nobody on in the first inning, Choi's homer went into the fans sitting beyond the left-field fence. He raised his right index finger in the air as he rounded first and high-fived his third base coach with both hands on his way home.

Choi Soo-ho's double to center then drove home Kim Gi-jeong, who reached second on a throwing error by Japan.

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